Congratulations! You’re pregnant. Now, you’ll want to get your body ready for the upcoming new arrival—and that includes making sure you get enough sleep. But, even if you usually sleep like a log, it can be hard to drift off and stay asleep during pregnancy.
Sleep disturbances during pregnancy are actually quite common. From uncontrollable leg movement to back pain, nausea, and heartburn, there are a number of issues women experience at night that can prevent them from getting a good night's rest.
But don't worry: It is possible to conquer these common sleep disruptions and get the rest you need for both you and your baby. In this article, we'll provide some tips on how to tackle these common sleep disturbances during pregnancy so you can have a more restful night of sleep.
Understanding the Causes of Sleep Disruptions in Pregnancy
As a pregnant woman, understanding the cause of your sleep disruptions can be an important step in overcoming them. Common causes of sleeplessness during pregnancy include physical discomfort, hormones, stress and anxiety.
First off, physical discomfort. With all the changes happening in your body during pregnancy, it's no surprise that you may find it hard to get comfortable enough to fall asleep. Your stomach and pelvic area are expanding, your breasts may be sore or tender, and you may experience rib or back pain due to shifting hormones and weight gain—all of which can make settling in for a good night's rest a challenge.
Hormones also play a role in sleeplessness during pregnancy. An increase in progesterone can make you feel tired during the day but keep you awake at night; lower levels of melatonin—the hormone that helps us sleep—can lead to insomnia; and high levels of estrogen can contribute to how easily you wake up—sometimes even before your alarm clock rings!
Finally, stress and anxiety can often prevent you from drifting off to sleep. Knowing that both your body and your baby are changing rapidly can cause worry and uneasiness that can keep you awake all night. Managing these common causes of sleep disruption through healthy habits like exercise, yoga or meditation will help give you more control over your sleeping patterns.
How to Address Insomnia During Pregnancy
Insomnia is one of the most common sleep disturbances during pregnancy. It’s estimated that up to 78% of pregnant women experience some level of insomnia, though the exact causes are still unknown. With insomnia, you may often experience difficulty falling asleep, waking up frequently in the night, and waking up too early in the morning.
Fortunately, there are a few strategies that can help you manage insomnia and get better rest during your pregnancy:
Create a comfortable sleep environment. Be sure your bedroom is dark, quiet, and at a comfortable temperature. Consider using an eye mask and ear plugs to block out sound and light.
Make time for relaxation before bedtime. Spend time doing things that you find calming or enjoyable like reading a book or listening to music. This can help your body relax as you fall asleep.
Stick to a consistent sleep/wake schedule. Going to bed at the same time and getting up at the same time each day will help your body stay in sync with its natural circadian rhythm even with changing hormones throughout pregnancy.
Limit caffeine consumption late in the day and avoid alcohol before bedtime as both can severely disrupt your sleep schedule and quality of sleep.
By making small changes in your daily routine you can create good habits for better quality sleep during pregnancy!
Proper Use of Caffeine During Pregnancy
Caffeine isn't something to be avoided at all costs when you’re pregnant, but it's important for you to know your limits. You don’t have to give up your morning pick-me-ups just yet, but here are a few things to keep in mind:
Moderation is key
It's best to try and limit your daily caffeine intake to under 200mg, which is about one 12oz cup of coffee. That's still enough for a hit of energy—it's just important not to overdo it, as consuming more than that can increase the risk of miscarriage or low birth weight.
Try and decide on a time when you'll stop drinking caffeine during the day—some suggest finishing off around noon so that the effects wear off well before bedtime. This way, there will be less chance of sleep disruption during the night.
Check your sources
You may also want to check where the caffeine is coming from—not all sources are created equal. Some are stronger than others, like coffee and pre-workouts with added stimulants– so be mindful of what you're consuming and how much.
By smartly incorporating small amounts of caffeine into your day, you may find that it can offer mild relief from some of those bothersome pregnancy symptoms—not least fatigue. The key is moderation—it's ok for an occasional treat, just try not overdo it and always stay on top of what you’re drinking!
Healthy Sleeping Positions During Pregnancy
The good news is that there are some healthy sleeping positions that you can adopt during pregnancy to get a better night's sleep. Here are some of the ones you should consider:
Sleeping on your side
This is one of the most comfortable positions when your belly is growing bigger. Place a pillow between your legs and one behind your back to support your body and help with discomfort. This position also helps with circulation and digestion, while reducing the pressure on your back.
Sleeping on your back
Although it might not seem as comfortable as sleeping on your side, this position is still good for getting rest without having to worry about putting too much strain on your lower back and spine. Just make sure you use pillows to prop up your legs and put a support pillow under your belly.
Use pillows for extra support
When it comes to finding a sleeping position during pregnancy, pillows can be a great way to give yourself more comfort. Place one pillow under each leg and another one between them, so that it supports the belly area, creating an even surface for you to rest on. Another one should be placed behind the back for extra support.
Invest in a Maternity Pillow to Reduce Stress on the Body
If you're pregnant, you know that with the extra weight of the baby, it can be hard to get comfortable in bed. And just when you do settle in, your baby wakes up and starts kicking your ribs! Investing in a maternity pillow can help reduce discomfort and stress on your body as you sleep.
Maternity pillows are specially designed to provide comfort in all the places you need it most—like your back and belly. They come in various shapes and sizes, so you can pick one that best suits your sleeping style. Placing a U-shaped pillow between your legs can help keep them parallel, relieving aches and pains while aligning your hips better too.
For those who like to sleep on their side or stomach—which is not recommended during pregnancy—a pregnancy wedge pillow can provide support under the abdomen and behind the back while still allowing freedom of movement.
If nausea strikes at night or if you have acid reflux, an adjustable pillow may be helpful as well—you can change its position to raise your head slightly above the rest of your body, making it easier and more comfortable to digest food.
A good maternity pillow is an especially smart purchase since it takes into account all of these changing needs during pregnancy and offers a luxurious sleeping experience for mums-to-be.
Natural Remedies for Sleep Disturbances in Pregnancy
When it comes to sleep disturbances during pregnancy, natural remedies can be a great way to find relief. Whether it's dealing with frequent trips to the loo or restlessness due to heartburn, there are plenty of natural methods to give you a more restful sleep.
Regular exercise can help prepare your body for a good night's sleep and make it easier for you to fall asleep and stay asleep. Moderate aerobic activities like walking, cycling, light-weight lifting, yoga and swimming can all help improve your quality of sleep. However, just make sure not to exercise too close to bedtime — this could actually work against you.
Comfortable Clothing & Bedding
Wearing comfortable clothing and having the right type of bedding can both help you fall asleep quicker and stay soundly asleep throughout the night. Invest in lightweight cotton sleepwear that allows your skin to breathe; choose bedding that is soft and silky smooth; and make sure your pillows offer enough support.
Aromatherapy is another excellent tool for improving the quality of your sleep during pregnancy. Essential oils like chamomile, lavender and ylang-ylang have all been proven effective in helping people relax before going to bed —which in turn helps promote better quality sleep during pregnancy. You can use essential oils in an oil diffuser next to your bed or even add a few drops into your bath before going to bed for some extra pampering.
While sleep disturbances during pregnancy are normal, they don’t have to be something pregnant women have to put up with. Taking the right measures can help you get a better night’s rest. Figure out the root cause of your sleep disturbances, be it hormones, a too-soft mattress or an uncomfortable maternity pillow. With the right methods, like keeping a sleep diary or investing in a body pillow, you can conquer common sleep disturbances during pregnancy and make sure you get the restful sleep you need.